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Franchise: Lawn Doctor or Weedman

Discussion in 'Franchising' started by Military Lawns, Jan 16, 2008.

  1. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Messages: 5,954

    I hear ya Ric. We used to be our State's largest purchaser of Scott's fertilizer. With permission of Cindy Fla__(our Scotts rep located in Ohio), we featured the Scotts name in our yellow page ad and in our brochures. This was fine for several years. In fact, Cindy asked me if I would go one step further by showing Scotts fert bags in our TV commercials. We did. We had a very close relationship with Scotts until............. :hammerhead: about a year before some guy bought a Scotts lawn care franchise here. We were not aware of any franchise in our area, so we were confused when we received registered mail from a law firm out of Washington, D.C. They strongly threatened us with a serious law suit regarding the use of the Scotts name. WOW! This was out of the blue BIG TIME! We turned this over to our attorney who proved we were in the right. Cindy vouched for us.
    So to this date, I HATE Scotts, I hate their devious attorneys, and LESCO has been our best friend since. Maybe it was the east coast way of doing business --- I really don't know, but Scotts has made a lifelong enemy with me. Cindy still lives in Columbus, Ohio, and we stay in touch. She lost her job with Scotts right after the Scotts breakup/sell out. She is a swell lady, and it's no surprise to me that Scotts fired her, cuz she is too good for "them".:nono:

  2. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    We have a Scott's Lawn care around here that is a lawn maintenance operation. I see they also now do fertilizing. we also have two Scott's Lawn franchise in our area....one in Clio, and one in Gd. Blanc. It will be interestng to see what happens with that.

    It was you that went through that.....I knew it was someone on here, but I wasn't sure who. I was just thinking of this th other day when I saw a "Dr. Lawn" the other day on here or one of the other sites. I thought to myself How in the world?
  3. Rayholio

    Rayholio LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,461

    Funny... thought by now we'd have the franchise fan-boys telling us how GREAT they are??

    or maybe they don't have anything to say for a reason? Hmmmm...
  4. jlemcke

    jlemcke LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1

    I am amazed at the lack of knowledge surrounding a franchise system. I am a Weed Man franchise owner in Canada. I am currently part owner in 7 locations, these locations service over 95,000 customers and produce over 36 million dollars of sales. Approximately 15 years ago, we bought our first franchise that was an existing franchise in Ottawa, ON, at that time sales were just under 200,000 of sales.

    Quite honestly, I put my two feet on the ground every day and thank god that I joined Weed Man. Just my 2 cents...everyone is allowed an opinion but this is my story.

    I know help franchisees in the US and welcome anyone to call me and discuss my last 15 years with this organization.

    Good luck in all your future endeavors!
  5. group501

    group501 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 174

    I own a Lawn Doctor franchise. I do not want to sound as if every part of being a Franchisee is perfect but overall I would to say that I am happy. Because of the buying power of our buy groups we pay far less for our products, ranging from printed materials to advertising and to chemicals. Often this makes up for the money we pay to the franchisor for royalties. The support system is also great if a problem arises. The individual Franchise owners are always willing to share their experiences with other franchises. This often saves a less experienced owner from making mistakes that could be costly. For the first two years the training was excellent. Although you do lose some of your individual freedom, I think that the success ratio of franchised business speaks volumes to the power of franchising. It has worked for us.
  6. sclawndr

    sclawndr LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 326

    I'm also an LD franchise and I second this. The biggest plus of a franchise is that you don't have nearly as much trial and error when you start. Reading a lot of the threads on this site is proof of that. Another big plus is having a network of people on your side who will freely share good info. When you're on your own you're stuck with suppliers mostly for advice, which is sometimes okay but hardly unbiased.

    When I started, the LD franchises were very reasonably priced and unfortunately that's not so much the case any more. However, if you can find an existing one for sale (and there's always at least a few), that's the best route - you'll have cash flow from the start and the owner usually ends up financing.

    Many people want to do whatever they want with the business and if that's you, then don't buy a franchise of any sort. We've never understood why someone would buy one if they already thought they knew everything. If you run the franchise right, you'll make a very comfortable living and avoid a lot of the headaches you read about on this site.
  7. ted putnam

    ted putnam LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,717

    If you are just starting out, I can see where a franchise could offer many benefits in getting things off the ground. I will share a personal experience with you. Of course I was an employee observing so my opinion may be skewed. I started for a Chemlawn franchise in 1990. About 93-94 Servicemaster Corp bought out Chemlawn from Ecolab. There was also a Servicemaster franchise in the area. They both had No compete clauses in their contracts. I think within 50 mile radius.When this buyout occured it created a "loophole" for both of them.They were 30 miles apart. Within 6 months both of them were out of their franchise agreements and had their own company names... I, by no means know all of the ins and outs of franchises but the little bit I have seen has shown me that given the slightest opportunity,owners of franchises(at least some of them)would love to be out of their agreements. JMO

    side note: I later worked for the former Servicemaster owner for a couple of years
  8. ted putnam

    ted putnam LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,717

    One other thing. I nthat same time frame TGCL promptly opened a branch in the same area. and began their "way of doing business."
  9. Rayholio

    Rayholio LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,461

    You know.. I can see how a franchise would be great for someone who didn't know squat about the business.. of course they'd ALSO need to have money coming out their ears.. The image of a franchise is one that is squeeky clean.. but let me tell you.. for all those 'low prices, and support' franchise owners go out of the business too.. a lot.. so don't think it's 'fool proof'

    When I talked to the weed man sales rep, he wouldn't tell me what the discounts were on printed materials, or chemical.. but based on what I could see, it's not that much of a break compaired to REAL GREEN materials, and per pallet pricing from BWI... He also wouldn't tell me what their program consisted of... He also wouldn't tell me how much I'd have to charge the customer under the franchise.. He wouldn't discuss marketing plans..

    What he WOULD tell me is that to cover the area that I allready covered, I would need to buy 2 zones.. 2 vehicles in 2 zones is over $100,000 a year... and I'm not even grossing that yet... He said I could do it with one vehicle.. ok.. then it would ONLY be $50,000 per year... and that's just for the rights to run the franchise.. I still have to buy, and pay to outfit the vehicles exactly how they want them.. (which can't be cheap)

    So.. in short, the sales meeting was all about how much I had to pay them, and all he could say about benifits was "Training, and Image" since he couldn't discuss financhials.. (Who wants to make money anyhow... right?)

    I think the franchise is the lazy mans way out.. you could hire an advertizing firm, sign up for 1800lawncare, and use the message boards for you invaluable network.. It will be cheaper in the long run.. and maybe someday, you can start your own franchise!

    If you have lots of money, NO business managment skills, & little or no industry experience.. you NEED a franchise.. (even if it fails, you'll learn a lesson)
  10. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,448

    If you run the franchise right... same for an independent. As far as getting adcice, that is why one joins their local landscpaer's association. I have talked to some very knowledgable people. There is also a wealth of info I have gotten from the extension office.

    More and maybe most importantly, being an independent forces me to learn as much as I possibly can as quickly as I can. I have asked the same questions to several suppliers. The result of that? I will drive 10 miles for my supplies instead of 1 because I didn't trust the "big" outfit here in town. I can create my own programs, and not have them dictated to me. I know when to treat for the type of grub we have here. Does the franchise scout when the beetles emerge?

    Speaking of which, they can't scout you customer's properties for you. That is a crucial part of early diagnosis and treatment. Having them dictate I see as a bit of a crutch. Where is the motivation to get better at what you do? What if you think there is a more effective, safer, more economical material available? What if an app is unecessary for a particular property? As much as we treat pests, we are also supposed to minimize the use of pesticides and help protect the evironment. I know independents that will spray just for the billing, but I'm not one of them.

    It works for some people, and that's fine. I think I can do a better job than they can in creating a program that will vary somewhat from one customer to the next. What you see as a difficulty I see as an opportunity to learn and eventally be one of the best.

    What is right and what works best is different for each individual. I just can't see refinancing my home when I don't need to either. But, if it works for you, that's great.

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